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South Texas Blood & Tissue partners with Medline to host blood drive in Laredo

Drive is in response to the nationwide blood shortage and to help serve patients in Texas

The mobile blood collection vehicles were stationed in front of the facility located at 12002 General Milton Dr. to collect blood donations from 28 members of the greater Laredo community, including Medline employees.

Throughout the five-hour event, South Texas Blood & Tissue was able to collect 24 units of blood, which will be able to help save 72 patient lives.

“It’s great to work with organizations like Medline that understand the importance of saving the lives of patients in our area,” said Jesse Cortez, Donor Recruitment Consultant with South Texas Blood & Tissue. “Since the pandemic, more than 1,200 blood drives have been canceled leading to local blood shortages.”

This event serves the community at a critical time, with the nationwide blood shortage affecting care for cancer, transplant, trauma and diabetic patients. Since the onset of COVID-19, there has been the biggest drop in blood donations in more than a decade.

“We understand the weight that the nationwide blood shortage carries on health care workers’ shoulders, and we’re honored to partner with the South Texas Blood & Tissue organization to raise both blood donations and awareness, allowing more patients to access the care they need,” said Kavita Idnani-Ramos, Human Resources Manager with Medline’s Laredo facility.

Medline is a manufacturer and distributer of medical supplies serving the continuum of care and operates a 250,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with over 300 employees in Laredo.

For over 45 years, South Texas Blood & Tissue has been committed to saving and improving the lives of patients throughout Texas. For more information on donating or eligibility visit https://biobridgeglobal.org/donors/blood-donation.

Waltman receives THOR sword at retirement event 

During the recent send-off event for Elizabeth Waltman, who is retiring as Chief Operating Officer of South Texas Blood & Tissue on April 1, she received a special honor: The THOR sword. 

Waltman is part of an international group of blood banking and medical professionals who launched the Trauma Hemostasis and Oxygenation Research (THOR) Network. 

The sword is awarded to a member of the organization each year in honor of their contributions to the THOR Network, and it is the responsibility of the previous year’s recipient to bestow it on his or her successor. 

Waltman received the sword from Col. Andre Cap, Director of Research at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio. 

According to its website, the THOR Network is a “multidisciplinary group of clinical, translational, and basic science investigators with a common interest in improving outcomes and safety in patients with severe traumatic injury, allowing first responders to interact with academicians and for the scientists to educate the medics and paramedics on the latest research in the field of pre-hospital resuscitation.” 

Research done in the THOR Network helped launch the Brothers in Arms program in San Antonio, which supplies low-titer type O blood to first responders for use in emergencies. It was the first civilian program of its kind in the United States and has expanded from medical helicopters to EMS units to San Antonio’s two trauma centers. 

Also on hand at the event was another previous recipient of the sword, Dr. Philip Spinella, who is a Professor in the Department of Surgery and Department of Critical Care Medicine at University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Spinella is one of the four founding members of the THOR Network.